Cherry Hemangioma

Updated: Apr 30, 2018
  • Author: Clarence William Brown, Jr, MD, FAAD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Overview

Background

Cherry hemangiomas are the most common cutaneous vascular proliferations. They are often widespread and appear as tiny cherry-red papules or macules. Longstanding lesions enlarge slowly over time and take on the appearance of a dome topped with cherry-red to deep-purple papules.

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Pathophysiology

Involvement of cherry hemangiomas is limited to the skin. These benign lesions are formed by a proliferation of dilated venules.

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Etiology

Little is known about the factors that contribute to the formation of cherry hemangiomas. Several reports have described the appearance of many small red papules histologically resembling cherry hemangiomas in patients with malignancies, [1] in association with segmental dyschromatosis and blue nevi, [2] as part of a viral xanthem, [3]  and following treatment with topical nitrogen mustard therapy. [4, 5] However, the vast majority of cherry angiomas occur in healthy patients.

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Epidemiology

Frequency

Frequency of cherry hemangiomas increases with age in both sexes and all races. The incidence of cherry angiomas is uniform across all races, but individual lesions are most noticeable in pale-skinned individuals.

Race

Cherry hemangiomas are found in individuals of all races and ethnic backgrounds.

Sex

No distinction can be made on the basis of sex.

Age

Cherry hemangiomas occur more frequently with increasing age. In the past, the lesions often were referred to as senile angiomas.

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Prognosis

Lesions are benign and usually do not undergo spontaneous involution. Patients may demonstrate considerable concern regarding the cosmetic appearance of the lesions.

In very rare situations, eruptive cherry angiomas have been observed to portend the diagnosis of a systemic malignancy [1] or be associated with topical nitrogen mustard therapy. [4, 5]

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Patient Education

Patients rarely require little more than the reassurance that cherry angiomas are benign lesions and are not skin cancer. Occasionally, removal of a lesion that has been traumatized is necessary, or a patient requests removal of lesions because of cosmetic concerns.

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